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Blog: Foreign Player influx – Progression or Regression?

Zambianfootball.co.zm’s coach Franklin Malambo takes a look at the hot issue of the influx of foreigners into the Zambian Super League.

In the last 8 years, there has been only two strikers who have reached the 20 league goal mark in the Zambian Super League

Congolese born Patrick Kabamba grabbed 20 goals from 20 appearances in 2009.

Fast track to the 2016, born to Congolese father and Zambian mother, and raised up in Congo, Nkana’s Walter Binene Bwalya smashed the goal scoring chats with 24 league goals.

Kenyan striker Jesse Were came second and then the likes Patson Daka and Fashion Sakala didn’t not even grab 15 goals each.

The case of foreign based players in the league can also be highlighted in newly promoted side Buildcom. They had about 8 Congolese players in their ranks in Division 1, the same can be said with Idriss Mbombo and Marcel Kalonda in 2015 when they steered Kabwe Warriors back to the Super League. Both are now at Zesco United.

Actually the past 3-4 seasons have shown an increase in the number of foreign nationals on team sheets for a number of Zambian Super League sides from the top sides to the tail end of the log predorminantly Congolese and a few other select countries.

Is it because our League has become so lucratively attractive in terms of renumerations?

Could it be that it is being used as a stepping stone?

Or Is our system so weak that everyone will come and play riding on the fact that they are ‘foreign’ and want to use it as leverage?

Who benefits more? Is it the Individual players, the clubs or Zambian football?

Let us take a closer look at this topic as we highlight the key positives and negatives.


In most cases than not, it improves the proffesionalism in teams.

Because foreigners are here solely in the country for work, their level of commitment and professionalism rubs off on to the local players.

It also helps clubs manage their playing personel better and do things better administratively.

Further, it increases the following for our league in the home countries of the players that ply their trade here.

That means more publicity and clubs can take advantage of the same through sale of merchandise in foreign lands.

Additionally, having foreign players awakens the locals and makes them aim for higher grounds and gives them insight on ddifferent approach and playing styles.


Frustrates Youth Policies – Our Youth Policy is almost non existent in clubs nowander their is no constant supply of quality players to the local teams.

Always going for a foreign finished product eliminates the local producer effectively.

Long term effect is the collapsing of even the little that we have standing.

Reduces National Selection Pool– one foreign player coming in translates to one chance of a local being taken away.

Few locals playing, means few locals form selection pool and limited human resources to be considered for national assignments.

Not only quantity is affected but crucially quality too. Fans cry when they see same faces without results.

Locals feel marginalised especially with the huge differences in wages and other incentives.

Less Competitive National Teams – Because funds are chanelled into bringing foreign players by clubs their is no proper education at Junior level and our age restricted teams will struggle to compete against their peers from other countries where they receive due attention.

Way forward –

Clubs to invest in youth – Not only U20/17 but go further with U14,12 and 10 where basic yet crucial aspects are taught. It will keep the supply line on.

FAZ through Sports Ministry to patner Ministry of Education and revisit schools football. Its a cost effective measure in place of academies. Empower local Coaches with tailored training to produce the right players that clubs want. The Best produce comes at a cost.

Foreign Quotas – Protect our present and most importantly the future by restricting the number foreigners. Four in a team must be maximum and six for those playing continenental.

Lower divison sides must not even be allowed to have even one .

Individuals and companies run clubs and their spending power is theirs to determine but market needs urgent regulation.

In all football dealings and programs, the ultimate beneficiary Must be Zambia and Zambian Football. Clubs may be seeing the benefits for their teams yet no club must be bigger than Zambia. Our football has not grown to the leaps and bounds both in standard and Income bracket and as such we must be careful as to where our football is going.

In all things its important to know the value of values and that direction is important than speed. 10 Years from now, shall we say our football progressed or regressed?

28 Comments to Blog: Foreign Player influx – Progression or Regression?

  1. Nostra says:

    Stupid complaints.
    South Africa national team is not good because of Mbesuma?
    How many foreign players are in Manchester United? But Rooney is still best.

    • Prince says:

      There has to be quotas…that is why South Africa and England are not doing well on the international stage, how many English men are playing in the Champions league?…Brazil, Argentina, Italy, Germany and Spain all manage foreigners as far as where they come from and the level they are at..

  2. chris busy says:

    Thats why zambia will nolonger improve bcoz u dont want to compete with the best, u guys lets wake up nowdays its a world of competition. How can u know that u re the best without beating the best?

  3. Chindika Popeye Ng'uni says:

    Thaing competition some of our local players are too lazy

  4. Chindika Popeye Ng'uni says:

    They give competition to our local players and some of our local players are too lazy

  5. Logic says:

    The influx of foreign players is good because it speaks to the growth of our league. The more professionals we have the more the game in general begins to be handled professionally. I would go further and say that team in the premier league go a step further and do away with the systems of having ‘committee’s running teams to having a management structure that has very specific roles such as CEO. business managers, marketing managers, etc. Having a committee with 7 people whose roles are simply committee members gives the feel of teams function as non profits instead of business enterprises. Back to the issue of foreigners, the onus is up to the local players to step up their game. If our strikers were doing their jobs, this would not be an issue. Competition is good. Zesco made some decent money playing in the CAF competition on the back of a good mix and from a business standpoint this is very good because it exposes their players to scouts, who if sold can attract a decent sum that can further help the team. I think we are not yet to a level where we need to start protecting local players through quotas. Our locals simple need to step up

  6. Positive thinking says:

    Oh wow. I recall saying the exact same thing about YOuth Football and the partnership of the Ministry of Sports and Ministry of Education to leverage the schools.

    I am in agreement with most of what is being said, but I am definitely not in agreement with any deltas between the number of foreign players in the local league and those in Continental. At the end of the day, CAF will determine how many foreign players play for a club in CAF competitions. Right now, I don’t think there is a specific quota.

    The only quota that can be controlled in locally. I don’t think this will necessarily improve the investment in local football. The running cost of an academy will always be higher than that of buying a new player who is a proven product. The motivation for foreign players has been to increase the competitiveness of the local teams in continental football.

    The idea is to increase the amount of money coming into the club, by winning or going further in continental competitions. That success for clubs is paramount and if it takes foreign talent to do so, then so be it. I would put the foreign quota at 5 on the field, but I would not limit the quota on the training pitch.


    I feel the subject is very educative and elucidating in that things like these if not discussed on the open forum like this will be detrimental to the soccer growth in our country, with this prelude may I submit my concrete thoughts as an avid supporter of Zambian soccer. I feel not to concur with most of the “negatives” or spiral effects of the influx of foreign players into the Zambian league as hinted by the writer because :
    1.It is vividly evident that most of the leagues in other Countries World wide who have embraced foreign players with a free flow mind-set have really improved and we as a soccer world community acutely look to them in terms of soccer prowess and professionalism, even our players yearn to play in their leagues.
    2.Soccer is game of inspiration; what I mean is in order to produce players of higher grade and quality you need quality players to inspire them for example most of the best players the world has ever witnessed have at one time individually hinted the blossoming of their careers from at-least some of the best players the world has ever seen.

    3. We must not forget that we also have players in other countries whom we count on depending on the game time they are given in their various clubs overseas and abroad, we must not be like some, for example, South African and English Coaches/Managers who have to date destroyed a lot careers of youngsters simply because they are foreigners.

    4. Foreign players always inspire hard work and discipline among-st the locals as they know that if they mess up, their careers can even fold up into extinction.

    5. I don’t think the Youths will be affected in any way as their program if properly implemented will still yield the desired results if done with seriousness, commitment, focus and pro-activeness in partnership with the Government.

  8. banks says:

    Ba Franklin. .know your facts..Walter is a true zambian. .not a foreigner. .he was born from a zambian father not the mother…it doesn’t mean if he grew in Congo then his Congolese.. .some of us also grew outside zambia…
    once again .your facts are wrong my dear…

  9. jbs simubernard says:

    i agree with you banks his father is a Zambian not a congolese i watched him on bola yapa zed on supersport saying that my mother is a congolese and my father is a Zambian and am a Zambian i cant wait to wear Chipolopolo jersey so ba franklin research before you wrote something bcoz we need him[walter bwalya]into the national team not ifyo mwaamba ukulanda ati is a congolese nimunomwinefye mu Zambia twashishita our friends the west africans they give support i mean they put pressure on FA to make sure that bamutinja player aba wabo not here in Zambia ninshi twaamba uku complainer instead tumusapote abe wesu,wake up ba franklin

  10. abiaso says:

    I think we need to limit the number of foreign players

  11. Billy says:

    Foreign players are welcome. Its good to local football.

  12. Why Do Some People Want To Destroy Our Football Ati Ba Coach Who Doesnt Even Know Our Players ; For Your Own Data Walter Bwalya Is Zambian ; Charly Musonda; Tika And Lamisha Musonda Are Zambians Too. Growing Up Or Recieving Education In England; Drc ; Belgium Or America Doesnt Change That Fact. Pliz Let Them Remember Their Roots Or WATCH THE MOVIE ROOT ABOUT KUNTA KINTE , Lets Be Like Indians Or WEST AFRICANS AND KNOW YOUR FACTS BEFORE POSTING YOU CONFUSE INNOCENT ZAMBIANS

  13. Leave Walter Alone He Open Revealed His Identity. Do You Bola Yapa Zed? Is It Nkana You Hate Or Walter Bwalya? Surprisingly Faz Ili Zii ; The Coach Quiet Too. Its Not Only Cos His Excellent Scoring Ability But He Is Acomplete Player ; Skilled; Has Good Passes Uses His Body Well Can Dribble ; Run Has Fighting Spirit Can Carry The Team On His Shoulder. He Can Take Mbesuma;s Place Or Form Adeadly Partnership With Mbesuma And All Upcoming Players.

  14. jojo says:

    Having a lot of foreign players is one way of marketing our league. and on th competition part of it, our players will b putting more effort so that they prove to b better than the foreign players.
    A lot of people from different parts of th world will b interested in our league. OUR players will b goin straight to europe rather than passing through th PSL before goin to europe.


    Personally I feel even if the mother was Zambian and the Father foreigner any person or player has the right to choose his country of citizenship depending on the constitution of the Country of which I think in Zambia it seems not to be a problem. In Zambia tuli ba kanwa sana elyo twalifikosha kwati we are a very developed country even developed countries are flexible look at France, USA and England also.
    Why should walter Bwalya be a victim white collar xenophobia He is as eligible as any Zambian Citizen to be called a true Zambian.
    Even Players who naturalise are as eligible as any natural born Zambian player to be called Zambian ifi ifimano ifyabuwelewele fifwile fyapwa if we are to go forward muleumfwa imwe! muleke ukusamwa ukwabula amano. I am a true Zambian and I love Chipolopolo but I don’t like the xenophobia around players in the same situation as Walter Bwalya if you don’t call him for national Duty we will protest loudly.

  16. The problem is with our useless FAZ who have no vision to run our football during their campagns they promise us heaven and earth and what is happen is opposite and some hegoats are saying kamanga is on the right track right track my foot

  17. Lukanga Justice Kafusha says:

    In some countries a foreign player can only be signed if he is far much better than the local player holding that position – this is the way it should be in Zed. Foreign players should bring value to our league – not ma passengers naimwe

  18. BYOBYONKA says:

    walter bwalya afunika kuvala chipolopolo jersey is a good player fulustop

  19. EL Tageto says:

    the point on ‘reduces national pool selection’ is invalid and ridiculed. makes no sense at all. pure ignorance

  20. Amandla says:

    Zambia has always been negative with foreign-born nationals or “half born” Zambians and this has cost us dearly as a nation! Even Zambians (born to foreign nationals) whose parents are resident and working in Zambia have traditionally received discrimination by selectors to the national team! Those with Green National Registration Cards with last names seen as from other countries have not been selected for national team duties too in spite of them being Zambians! Players who were prowess but were thought to be foreigners could have easily been “Zambianised” and given the Zambian jersey and Zambia could have won the Africa Cup years ago had this been done! Players who were good such as Tshikala Mwanza, James Jengela and many more were unfairly discriminated against! Contrast this to European teams which give citizenship status to players born outside their countries and feature in the World Cup matches, e.g. France and win! You may also remember that in 2012 when Zambia played in the AFCON tournament, the host nation, it was rumoured had “bought” players! It is time FAZ began to negotiate with these players and given the Zambian status and Zambia will benefit and we must stop our bad discrimination!

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